December 25, 2000

Our Christmas Letter


Merry Christmas 2000!


Even though we are a long way from home, it has been wonderful to see so many of you in the last year, and to hear from many more! We hope and pray that the year has been a good one for you.


We ushered in 2000 by standing on Waterloo Bridge, right over the Thames, for a New Year's celebration just a few miles from the Greenwich meridian. Wow! What a fireworks extravaganza! In February we went to Africa for a safari. We flew to Kenya and took a bus into Tanzania, where we visited the Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvia Gorge, the Serengeti, and Lake Manyara. Lions! Cheetah! Elephants, zebras, giraffes! It was an experience of a lifetime!


In March, Ron turned 43, Andrew turned 14, and Katy turned 9. My, but aren't we all growing up! Wintertime in London gets pretty dark; the sun rises at 8:00 AM and sets by 4 PM. By April, we were ready for some sun, and we found it along the southern coast of Portugal, which we visited for a week with our friends the Swains. May brought visits from our friend from Russia, Katia, and from Caryn's mom and aunt, and new opportunities for us to visit such "day-trip" sights as Greenwich, Stonehenge, and Bath.


Andrew graduated from Middle School in June, and we traveled back to the USA to see our families and to attend the funeral for Caryn's grandfather in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Afterwards, Caryn went back to London, Andrew spent a week in Glenview with his friend Sean, Katy attended "Camp Nana" with her cousins and Caryn's mom, and Ron went hiking in Canada with his dad. Back in the UK in July, our friends the Ruch-Ross's came to see us. Together we spent a week traveling through Scotland, taking a train to Inverness, driving along Loch Ness (no monsters!) to Edinburgh, and another train back to London. Ron's parents also paid us a visit in July, and took the opportunity to renew some old friendships around the country.


In August, Caryn and Ron celebrated their 21st anniversary, Andrew got his braces off (such a nice smile!), and classes resumed at the American School. In September, as a belated birthday present to Ron (the weather had not been cooperative!) Caryn treated us all to a hot air balloon ride at Leeds Castle. In October, as part of the high school curriculum, Andrew took a trip to Geneva to visit the particle accelerator at CERN, and Ron accompanied a group of students hiking and white-water rafting in the Alps. This also turned out to be the month for social activities, with a slew of sleepovers, concerts (Brittany Spears for Katy and Ron), plays, musicals, etc.

November: Caryn had another birthday (we won't say which, but it wasn't 29!), and Ron's sister Linda and her boyfriend Joey were here to help us celebrate. Andrew went to Berlin with youth from international churches in Europe and North Africa, and had a terrific time. We ate turkey (and a whole lot more!) at the Swain's, and then spent 3 days in Venice, a water fantasy land! Now here we are; it's December already! We took a three-day trip to Cologne, Lille and Ghent to visit the Christmas markets. 4 countries in 3 days!

Caryn is still working for BP, and has the chance to travel quite a bit: several trips to the US, plus Seattle and Singapore! She has also become wuite active in our church, singing in the choir and attending several small groups. Ron still loves teaching math at the American School. Andrew, now at least an inch taller than his dad, is a Freshman, and taking guitar lessons. Katy has joined Girl Scouts and has discovered a love (and talent, if we can be objective about it) for singing and poetry.

Obviously there are many tales to be told (and photos to share) from such an adventurous year. We will continue to try to keep you posted via our family web page at (Note that this is a new URL. Our Internet Service Provider did an "upgrade" which nuked our old site.) Our email addresses remain the same: Ron at and caryn at

We don't know precisely what the new year will bring for us, whether we will be back in the US for the new school year or spend another year here. In any case, we want to stay in touch, so please drop us a line, or, better yet, come on over! We send our love, and wishes for a very merry Christmas and happy New Year!



Ron, Caryn, Andrew and Katy